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Quills is a 2000 film based on a play that was inspired by the life and work of the Marquis de Sade.

Directed by Philip Kaufman. Written by Doug Wright.
There are no bad words... only bad deeds. (taglines)

Abbé de Coulmier

  • Your terrible secret revealed, you're a man after all.
  • You're not the Antichrist. You're only a malcontent who knows how to spell.
  • I am not the first man God had asked to shed blood in his name. And I am not the last.
  • Listen to me Abbé, and listen well. I've stared into the face of evil and I've lived to tell the tale and now, I beg you, for your sake, let me write it down.
  • Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated.
  • Are your convictions so fragile they cannot stand in opposition to mine? Is your god so flimsy, so weak? For shame!
  • Suppose one of your precious inmates attempted to walk on water and drowned - would you comdemn the Bible? I think not.
  • I didn't create this world of ours. I merely recorded it.
  • You've already stolen my heart... as well as a more prominent organ, south of the Equator.
  • Ah, you've come to read my trousers.
  • I write what I see, the endless procession to the guillotine. We're all lined up, waiting for the crunch of the blade... the rivers of blood are flowing beneath our feet... I've been to hell, young man, you've only read about it.
  • This monstrous God of yours? He strung up his son like a side of veal. I shudder to think what he'd do to me.
  • In order to know virtue, we must acquaint ourselves with vice. Only then can we know the true measure of a man.
  • My glorious prose filtered through the minds of the insane. Who knows, they might improve it.

Madeleine LeClerc

  • Some things belong on paper, others in life. It's a blessed fool who can't tell the difference.
  • If I wasn't such a bad woman on the page, I couldn't be such a good woman in life.
  • Don't come any closer, Abbe, God's watching.
  • You can't be a proper writer without a touch of madness, can you?

Dr. Royer-Collard

  • You know how I define idealism, Monsieur Delbenet? Youth's final luxury.
  • You prefer a book to your husband's company? Well no wonder, I'm only flesh and blood - that's no match for the printed page!
  • If you're going to martyr yourself, do it for God, not a chambermaid.


  • Tell him I'm no fool, a prison's still a prison, even with Chinese silks and chandeliers.
  • I so admire men with an appetite for...books.


Madeleine LeClerc: How can we know who is good - and who is evil?
Abbé du Coulmier: All we can do is guard against our own corruption.

Abbé du Coulmier: It's not even a proper novel. It's nothing but an encyclopedia of perversions. Frankly, it even fails as an exercise in craft. The characters are wooden, the dialogue is inane. Not to mention the repetition of words like "nipple" and "pikestaff".
Marquis de Sade: There I was taxed; it's true.
Abbé du Coulmier: And such puny scope. Nothing but the worst in man's nature.
Marquis de Sade: I write of the great, eternal truths that bind together all mankind. The whole world over, we eat, we shit, we fuck, we kill and we die.
Abbé du Coulmier: But we also fall in love, we build cities, we compose symphonies, and we endure. Why not put that in your books as well?

Madeleine LeClerc: Your publisher says I'm not to leave without another manuscript.
Marquis de Sade: I've just the story. It's the unhappy tale... of a virginal laundry lass. The darling of the lower wards where they entomb the criminally insane.
Madeleine LeClerc: Is it awfully violent?
Marquis de Sade: Most assuredly.
Madeleine LeClerc: Is it terribly erotic?
Marquis de Sade: Fiendishly so. But it comes with a price. A kiss for each page...

Abbé du Coulmier: There are certain things.... feelings.... we must not voice.
Madeleine LeClerc: Why?
Abbé du Coulmier: They incite us to act on what we should not.... cannot.

Renee Pelagie: Desperation has driven me past etiquette, all the way to frenzy.
Dr. Royer-Collard: My schedule is not the subject to the whims of lunatics.
Renee Pelagie: I beg to differ, you work in a madhouse. Your every walking moment is governed by the insane.

Renee Pelagie: If you cure him, I mean really cure him, harness the beast that rages his soul.

Renee Pelagie: Can I impart to you his cruelest trick?
Dr. Royer-Collard: Of course.
Renee Pelagie: Once, long ago in the folly of youth, he made me love him.

Abbé du Coulmier: You are not to entertain visitors in your quarters.
Marquis de Sade: I'm entertaining you now, aren't I?
Abbé du Coulmier: Yes, but I'm not a beautiful young prospect ripe for corruption.
Marquis de Sade: Don't be so sure.

Prouix, the Architect: Madame, how could you- have you actually read this volume?
Simone: I've memorized it. Would you like me to recite?
Prouix, the Architect: There comes a time in a young lady's life when she has to cast books aside, and learn from experience.
Simone: That, Monsieur, requires a teacher.

Simone: Sign it quickly, then you can ravish me again in the linens for which he so dearly paid.
Prouix, the Architect: And then I beg you, on the bearskin rug in his study. And finally, as a crowning gesture, we'll leave puddles of love on the Peruvian marble.

Abbé du Coulmier: But why must you indulge in his pornography?
Madeleine LeClerc: It's a hard day's wages slaving away for madmen, what I've seen in life - it takes a lot to hold my interest.

Dr. Royer-Collard: I won't sully my hands with him.
Marquis de Sade: Nor should you. That's the first rule of politics, isn't it? The man who drops the execution never drops the blade.

Madeleine LeCleric: It's a sin against God for me to refuse your kindness. But my heart's held fast here-
Abbé du Coulmier: By whom? The Marquis?
Madeleine LeCleric: Mother's not half so blind as you.

Abbé du Coulmier: An innocent child is dead.
Marquis de Sade: So many authors are denied the gratification of of a concrete response to their work. I am blessed.

Dr. Royer-Collard: Will you sleep sound tonight?
Abbé du Coulmier: No. Put frankly, I never expect to sleep again.


  • There are no bad words... only bad deeds.
  • Meet the Marquis de Sade. The pleasure is all his.

Major cast

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